Jake Shields was released by the UFC earlier this month after just one loss, to Hector Lombard. Shields, 35, had previously beaten Yoshihiro Akiyama, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley all by decision. Shields also had a win over Ed Herman changed to a no contest, following his positive test for a prohibited substance.
Several causes for the unexpected release have been cited:
•Expense of Shields' contract.
•UFC releasing or not signing fighters who are grappling oriented and not exciting to asses in seats.
•UFC looking for younger, newer talent, with the possibility of major increases in their game.
In an interview on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Shields discussed the release, and signing with World Series of Fighting.
“I was a little bit annoyed and a little bit irritated, but it’s not that big of a deal," said Shields of his release, as transcribed by Sherdog. "It is what it is. You’ve just got to move on. A year or two ago it would have been really bad, with no options, but I think right now MMA is starting to blow up outside the UFC. World Series of Fighting seems to really be doing good things and we were lucky enough to work out a deal with them and move forward with my career at that point.”
“At this point I’m thinking welterweight. My weight’s not real big and I’m kind of staying -- I’m actually only in the high 180s, so it would be an easy cut to 170. When I was going up to 185, I can definitely fight at that weight, but it takes a lot of heavy lifting. It takes some time to build back up. I’m not saying I wouldn’t fight there again, but I’d just need a little time to do some heavy lifting and put some weight on.”
“They haven’t thrown any names yet. I haven’t really thought about it too much. I know obviously they have Palhares and Fitch; I think they’re already signed to fight each other. So yeah, I’ll probably fight somebody else there. I know they have Burkman. They have a couple of other good guys at my weight. I’d have to look at the lineup. … Nowadays there can be really tough guys I’ve never heard of as well.”
"I would think I would be up for a title fight in one, two at most. I’m still a name. I’m arguably top 10, so it makes sense to put me in for a title fight pretty fast, but at this point I’m not too worried about it.”
Listen to entire interview… (1:02:43 mark)
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